During my recent travels up the West Coast, I eventually made my way up to my home of origin, Seattle, WA. Much of my family and friends are still there, but many have left in pursuit of career, adventure and personal exploration. Yasmine is one of my oldest, most dear friends who did just that. Due to eventual geographical challenges, regular visits became a bigger challenge for the two of us. But after two years without seeing each other we realized were both in Seattle at the same time without realizing it, no advance notice - and when we are in the same city at the same time I consider it a serendipitous blessing. We quickly made plans to meet up for a coffee date in the heart of downtown to do our best to catch up on life in a short window of time. And as always, it was made clear that no matter how much time passes or where we are in our separate lives, we are always able to pick up where we last left off, sharing as if we were together just yesterday. It was a stereotypical, chilly, gray day in the city we spent our growing years, but capturing my beautiful friend’s light with a little makeup and photo session was an incredible opportunity, regardless of the weather.
Yasmine and I grew up together in the Pacific North West and our history runs deep – complete with humble beginnings, teenage angst, bad wardrobe choices, relationship woes…you name it, we experienced it. But she always seemed to be able to see outside the bubble we existed in, thinking about what she wanted beyond what was easily attainable. It was always clear, even in youth, that she was unique, strong-willed, destined for bigger things. And despite the ever-present temptation to stay where things are comfortable and friendships are fruitful, it didn’t take long for her to realize her potential needed to be met elsewhere.
In our younger years, she made no secret of her desire to move in the direction of the fashion world – her juvenile fashion design sketches so telling of her talents. I will always remember the day she called to say she was moving to New York for an incredible career opportunity; one day she was a college graduate, pondering her next steps in life, the next she was moving across the country to make the goals she had long worked towards a reality - and with little to no advance notice. Despite the fact that I was left feeling completely stunned, trying to absorb the fact that she was leaving so quickly, deep down I knew that moment would come eventually. And if she was nervous, you wouldn’t have known it – she was ready to seize the day. Since then she has called multiple incredible cities “home”, stretching herself to experience all she can in order to be sure she where she is meant to be.
So many years have passed yet that phone call remains seared into my memory. It was such a defining time in life, and so telling of the person Yasmine has always been. She has since built a career in the world we could only dream about as teenagers, living a lifestyle that is so completely right for her. But even with the success she has found in the career she has worked so hard for, she cannot be defined by her achievements. She relentlessly pushes forward towards new goals and aspirations, all the while she remains the humble, kind, down-to-earth person she has always been. Strong, motivated, she does things on her own terms and she is a woman of her word. You may not always be able to anticipate her next move, but you can be sure she is moving in the direction of her choosing with wholehearted commitment. And when she realizes she must move on in search of her next adventure in a new city, she doesn’t hesitate to take the necessary steps to make that change happen.
There is a special beauty that can be found in a woman who works from the ground up, knows what she wants and goes for it against all odds, knowing that all that can be relied upon is the will and drive found inside ourselves. In a world where we question the path we must take, the person we must be, the luck we wish we could have - Yasmine is living, breathing proof that you can have a goal or dream and literally reach out and touch it, live it, with hard work and sheer determination. Knowing that the only way to achieve the things she wanted out of life was to work incredibly hard without compromising who she is as a woman or forgetting where she came from. I can't count the amount of times I struggled to see beyond the only life I knew, wanting to take the leap I wasn't yet ready to. But in those moments I was able to find a bit of that adventure, inspiration and strength through her. I will always be grateful for that.
As the Universe would have it, our serendipitous coffee date in Seattle was happening just as Yasmine was in the midst of another life transition. I was beyond excited to be able to catch her just as she was on the brink of her next chapter. As I sat and listened to her speak about her next steps, I couldn’t help but feel the familiar awe I have always felt in her presence. The admiration, the love, the gratitude I will always feel for our friendship. The comfort of knowing that regardless of time and distance, this beautiful, dear friend and our special little catch-up dates will always be one of the constants life will allow. With all the things in life that undeniably must change, I am thankful some things continue to remain the same. I look forward to seeing where her adventure takes her next.